'UK and Australia combatting modern slavery in the supply chain of businesses'Published 11 December 2018
With global supply chains becoming more integrated, it is becoming harder for authorities to identify if companies used slaves or under-aged children as a part of the production process. In 2016 alone, at any given day, 40.3 million people were victims of modern slavery across 167 countries, according to the Global Slavery Index. To address this, the Government of Australia recently adopted the Modern Slavery Bill, which comes into effect on 1 January 2019. The bill is based on the United Kingdom’s (UK) Modern Slavery Act 2015.
Ms Shamistha Selvaratnam, a speaker at the upcoming Doing Business Right Winter Academy on the UN Guiding Principles (UNGPs) on business and human rights, says that the UK and Australian Modern Slavery Acts are the first laws globally to combat modern slavery in the supply chains of businesses through corporate regulation and transparency.
Encouraging corporate respect for human rights
The UNGPs are a guide on how reporting and compliance systems can be set up to encourage respect for human rights and address the violations. “The UK and Australian Modern Slavery Acts are an example of the implementation of some of the principles contained in the UNGPs. They aim at encouraging corporate respect for human rights, and emphasise the importance of due diligence in identifying and addressing human rights risks” says Ms Selvaratnam.
“While both the UK and Australian Modern Slavery Acts are a historic step in increasing corporate regulation and transparency, both models have weaknesses”, says Ms Selvaratnam, who thinks that there still is much work to be done to ensure that both Acts operate effectively in preventing and addressing modern slavery in supply chains.
Ms. Selvaratnam’s presentation at the upcoming Asser Winter Academy addresses the similarities and differences of both British and Australian models; their effectiveness, and how they fit within the broader business and human rights framework. The presentation will be part of the Winter Academy taking place from 28th January to 1st February 2019. For more information and registration click here.